Cover photo for Danny Wendell Bessinger's Obituary
Danny Wendell Bessinger Profile Photo

Danny Wendell Bessinger

August 9, 1950 — October 29, 2021

Danny Wendell Bessinger

Mr. Danny Wendell Bessinger, 71, of Heard Drive, Elberton, husband of Laura ‘Anne’ Smith Bessinger, finished his course in faith on Friday, October 29, 2021, at his residence.

Born in Elberton on August 9, 1950, Danny was the oldest child of Geraldyn “Gerrie” Gaines Bessinger and the late Sydney Earl “Buck” Bessinger. He was a 1968 graduate of Elbert County High School. After graduation, Danny served his country in the U.S. Air Force for 4 years where he obtained the rank of sergeant.

After trying his hand at several different careers, Danny finally found his niche in the public safety sector. He worked for the Georgia Forestry Commission as a certified firefighter from 1976-1981. He is most remembered from this time period as playing the part of Smokey the Bear. Danny served as Elbert County Emergency Medical Services Shift Supervisor from 1981-1998. He was trained in the fields of Basic EMT, Cardiac EMT, and Paramedic. Danny also served as Elbert County Coroner from 1985-1988. He served as an investigator with the Public Defender’s office of the Northern Judicial Circuit from 1992-1998. Danny’s last position within the public safety sector was as Georgia Department of Public Health Office of EMS and Trauma Regional 5 Training Coordinator.

He began working full-time for the Elbert County Recreation Department as Director in April of 1998 and held that position until December of 2005. During this time, Danny was most proud of overseeing the completion of McWilliams Park. He truly loved the children and sports of Elbert County. He was the sideline reporter for WSGC from 1980 until calling his last game, Elbert County vs. Rabun County, on October 22, 2021. Danny emceed many pep rallies and Elbert County events.

He was a dedicated and devoted member of First United Methodist Church of Elberton where he served as Children’s Director and Building Superintendent. Danny was happy to be part of the breakfast crew during the contemporary worship service, organizing chicken barbecues, and any other fundraising events the church needed.

Holding true to his servant’s heart, Danny was actively involved in the following organizations: Jaycees, True Blue, Elbert County 4-H, Elberton Elks Lodge, Elberton VFW, American Heart Association, and TJ and Friends Foundation. He served on the Sister City Committee of Elberton and Mure-cho, Japan. Danny was privileged to serve as chaperone in 1994 and to represent Elberton in 1996 for the opening of Mure-cho’s Granite Museum.

As a result of his unwavering support and dedication to Elbert County and her citizens, Danny was honored to receive the March 2006 Community Award from the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce. This award was something of which Danny was very proud.

Above all, his favorite title in life was “Pop”. He was happiest when surrounded by his grandchildren, cheering them on at any event in which they were participating, hosting them at any given time for dinner, or planning a trip for the entire family. Not only was he Pop to his 11 grandchildren, he was also Pop to hundreds of others in the community. Pop’s memory will remain in the hearts of those he has touched for generations to come.

Survivors, in addition to his wife Anne and his mother Gerrie, include his daughters: Jeannie (Leon) Jourolmon of Elberton, Jill (Larry) Kesler of Elberton, and Kerri Bessinger (Devin Fischer) of Powder Springs; siblings: Larry (Nancy) Bessinger of Elberton, Joy (Greg) Mack of McDonough, and Brian (Carol) Bessinger of Elberton; grandchildren: Emma (Cole) Hart, Eva Jourolmon, Daniel Lavender, Nate Lavender, Ellie Jourolmon, Sam Lavender, Eli Jourolmon, Sophie Lavender, McKenzi Kesler, and Sydney Laura Bessinger; brother-in-law, Ben Smith of Elberton; and nieces, nephews, and extended family members too numerous to name.

Funeral services celebrating Danny’s life will be held on Tuesday, November 2, at 4 o’clock at First United Methodist Church of Elberton with the Revs. Jim McCollough and Wayne Smith officiating. He will be placed in the church at 3 o'clock. Interment will follow in Forest Hills Memorial Park with Daniel Lavender, Nate Lavender, Sam Lavender, Eli Jourolmon, Cole Hart, Tyler Bessinger, Lance Mack, and Zack Smith honored as pallbearers. EMS and Military Honors will be rendered.

The family is at the residence and will receive friends at Berry Funeral Home from 5:00-8:00p.m. on Monday, November 1.

The family requests those attending to please wear red, white, and blue.

Flowers are accepted and contributions may be made in his memory to the Danny Bessinger Sideline Scholarship Fund at Pinnacle Bank or T.J. & Friends Foundation, PO Box 6161, Elberton, GA 30635.

Those wishing may sign the online guestbook at

Berry Funeral Home & Crematory of Elberton is respectfully in charge of arrangements for Mr. Danny Wendell Bessinger.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Danny Wendell Bessinger, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Monday, November 1, 2021

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Berry Funeral Home & Crematory

1 Berry Lane, Elberton, GA 30635

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Starts at 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Elberton First United Methodist Church

132 E. Church Street, ELBERTON, GA 30635

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Forest Hills Memorial Park

Highway 17 South, Elberton, GA 30635

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